ARDMORE, Pennsylvania: Phil Mickelson shrugged off an overnight flight scramble and an early morning thunderstorm to post the clubhouse lead in the 113th US Open at Merion Golf Club on Thursday.
The American’s three-under par 67, sandwiched around a 3 hours 32 minutes play suspension beause ofbad weather.
England’s former world number one Luke Donald was best-placed among the chasers at four under through 13 holes.
Tiger Woods, meanwhile, appeared to be struggling with an injury to his left wrist after jarring it while playing out of Merion’s thick and wet rough.
Mickelson skipped practice rounds at the course on Tuesday and Wednesday to fly back to California and attend his daughter Amanda’s eighth-grade graduation ceremony, then flew back in time to start the Open on Thursday.
The airplane landed at Philadelphia at 3:30 in the morning and the 42-year-old left-hander reached the course 87 minutes later, well ahead of his 7:11 a.m. tee time.
Seeking a first US Open title after finishing runner-up a record five times, Mickelson then set about tackling Merion’s East course, hosting the US Open for the first time in 32 years.
With all of the 78 golfers who were in the 26 morning groupings having completed their rounds, big-hitting Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts was closest to Mickelson, two strokes back after a 69.